Day 64 – A Thing of Beauty

2013.04.26After a very long week of work and two or three long weeks without spending time away with my lovely wife, we FINALLY took an evening for ourselves.

It was a wonderful evening, enjoying Final Fridays at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, quiet conversation, and a wonderful dinner at Macaroni Grill.

We actually stayed out past 9:00 o’clock.  Yes, we are that wild and crazy couple.

The funny thing is that during our evening out, we remembered something  that we’ve remembered a hundred times before:  We Are All We Have and This Relationship Takes Time and Intention.

So often, way too often, we spend all our energies on the kids, the house, the yard, our work, our parents…but forget to spend time on what matters most – Our Relationship.  We fail to listen.  We forget to talk.  We pass one another quickly in the morning.  We land at home in the evening, breathless and tired, without really spending time together.

Our relationship, when it is at its worst, happens by accident.  Our relationship, at its best, happens when we slow down, put aside those things that will be there tomorrow or are not important at all, and look at one another closely, listen carefully, and love deeply.

My wife and I looked at a piece of modern art on the 4th floor of the IMA.  We analyzed it for a while and then she said with a laugh, “I really don’t like this…I just think that I could do that…if I wanted to.”  And I had to agree with her.  It seemed too simple.  It appeared too random.  But, the more we looked at the canvas, the color, the shapes, the brush strokes…the more we saw the subtle changes of direction, the amazing layers of color that were not accidental but, in fact intentional.  Some areas were thick with medium built up over days, weeks and months.  Others were thin to the point of exposing the raw canvas.  After a few more careful minutes of inspection, we realized that this piece of art took many, many hours and years of practice.  It didn’t happen by accident.  It could only be successful because of the intentionality and plan of the artist.  We stepped back with a fresh perspective and we both agreed that this was a nice piece of art.

I’m thankful for the times when our relationship receives the same careful attention.  The outcome is always a work of art.

Day 43 – Quite Woods Walking

Turtles line up in the sun, trying to warm themselves in the picture-perfect day.
Turtles line up in the sun, trying to warm themselves in the picture-perfect day.

I was left to myself on my last full day in Houston.  The boys slept in late and then walked to Waffle House to eat their lunch.  When they returned, they played some games in the hotel lobby and then I dropped them off to spend the rest of the day with their friends.

I decided it was my last chance to enjoy the beauty of Texas and so I found Memorial Park.

Several years of severe drought has devastated what must have been a magnificent park.  The forest floor is littered with fallen trees, now dead and cut into sections.  Towering pines stand withering and bare and will join their brothers on the forest floor in months to come.  It was shocking to see the impact of the weather dry conditions over time.

The bright spot in the journey was the one butterfly that allowed me to capture it’s beauty.  I’ve seen many butterflies around the Houston area, both in and out of the parks I’ve visited.  This blaze of color was the first to sit still long enough to get it’s image captured for posterity.

I’ve been reading the book, Positivity during my vacation.  It’s primary premise is that a person who flourishes will have a positive to negative ratio of 3:1 or greater.  On a day when I was challenged by loneliness, home-sickness, frustration at the Houston traffic, and sadness concerning the terrible destroyed forest, the butterfly reminded me to stop looking at the forest but to examine the trees.  Or in this case, the bugs on the trees.

It turned out to be a very good day!